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Found these on Germania International's website. Note both subjects wear NCO shoulder straps and one wears an officer's cap. Other period photos exist depicting full-fledged officers posing with the so-called "candidate" sword. It may be photos like these led someone to conclude these are "candidate" swords, but most collectors today do not agree with that conclusion. Whatever these swords are seems to continue to be enigmatic.

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Is the first photo of a Junker from SS Schule Tolz?


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Originally Posted By: JoeW
Is the first photo of a Junker from SS Schule Tolz?


Joe:
I blew the photo up as much as I could before the distortion got real bad and I'm 95% sure that's whats on the cufftitle.
Jim

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My attempt with a close up is about the same.

FP

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Tölz

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If SS NCO with Tölz cufftitle = future Officer is holding unidentified sword of "SS/Polizei Führerdegen" type then there are 3 possibilities what kind of sword it may be:

1. Police Officer sword - don't think so, the guy seems to have SS-VT collar patch and I can't believe he might be Police Officer at the same time.

2. SS Officer sword - hmmm, even being an SS Officer wasn't enough to receive the sword, let alone the NCO.

3. SS candidate/no emblem - very likely, especially in the hands of the SS Junker.

IMHO pictures like that are kind of proof that "candidate swords" are candidate swords.

2nd guy is probably a Junker as well, we can't see what kind of cufftitle he wears, Tölz, Braunschweig or still TK.

Last edited by 777; 04/24/2011 03:00 PM.
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I agree that the "candidate" sword was used by candidates, based upon the above photos and other information. It's hard to refute what the eyes see. There may have been other uses for "candidate" swords. There have been indications such may have been the case, such as presentation SS swords with a "candidate" grip. I wonder if candidates were allowed to retain and possibly wear their swords after becoming commissioned officers. There seem to be enough of these swords around to indicate they were individually owned and not temporarily issued by the schools. I have no proof, but speculate they may have been used for special gifts, mostly with etched blades, as an unofficial degen, with no requirement they be presented, as with SS honor degens. They are one of the most enigmatic edged weapons of the Third Reich. It is interesting to note the uniform of the second individual depicted appears to that of an officer, save the shoulder straps. His collar tabs and cap cord are officer types. It is unfortunate his belt buckle is not depicted.

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I had forgotten to follow this thread when I asked my question back in March. There is a fourth possibility that is a variation of two. The sword in the first photo is a non-awarded SS Fuhrerdegen, of the design called called "Candidate" sword, that were provided for those officers desiring to carry a sidearm but not having the "connections" to be awarded an Ehrendegen. I provide this description based on the appearance in SS replacement price lists of a listing for an "SS-Degen", as well as the appearance of procured SS-Degens appearing on RSHA inventory cards. These were illustrated in T.W.'s book on SS blades for which I contributed the SS-Police sword chapter.

I also present this photo of a number of "candidate" swords worn by Ober-Junkers of a class of SS-Schule Braunschweig.

SS Oberjunker degens WM1.jpg (46.04 KB, 303 downloads)

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Joe, can you spot (by looking on the grip or the scabbard) on the picture if the degens are NCO's or Officer degens?
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Regarding the top of the grip/pommel it looks like an NCO one to me


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They are "NCO" swords........I was using the term candidate in a tongue-in-check manner. Perhaps the "NCO" Degen is the real "candidate" sword.


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Is the discussion dead on this topic?


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Originally Posted By: JoeW
They are "NCO" swords........I was using the term candidate in a tongue-in-check manner. Perhaps the "NCO" Degen is the real "candidate" sword.


In the German Army, senior grade NCO's carried a (plain jane) government version of the officer's sword as a badge of rank. Lower ranks could not. And in the officer candidate schools, as they rose higher in rank had other privileges which is probably beyond the scope of this discussion. My point being that I think this photo is more indicative of:

"There is a fourth possibility that is a variation of two. The sword in the first photo is a non-awarded SS Fuhrerdegen, of the design called called "Candidate" sword, that were provided for those officers desiring to carry a sidearm but not having the "connections" to be awarded an Ehrendegen. I provide this description based on the appearance in SS replacement price lists of a listing for an "SS-Degen", as well as the appearance of procured SS-Degens appearing on RSHA inventory cards. These were illustrated in T.W.'s book on SS blades for which I contributed the SS-Police sword chapter." FP

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Are you suggesting the SS-Fuhrerdegen w/out runes was awarded to the most senior NCOs while the "Canidate" SS Unterfuhrerdegen went to the junior Junkers?


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No, I was actually agreeing with you, but could have done a better job with my wording. The purpose of the SS schools was to graduate officers, the same as the German Army schools. With the Army officer candidates starting at the bottom (of course there were certain exceptions) and working their way up. Having different interim ranks as NCO’s as they progressed. As well as an interim status when they graduated until they made it through a probationary period. And if they washed out, there were given permanent status usually as higher grade NCO’s depending on how far they were along in the process. Said NCO’s then being permitted to wear government issue swords.

Or, in the case of the SS instead of the Army. The NCO swords to the appropriate NCO ranks including candidates. And in the case of officers who were not personally awarded swords by HH, the so-called candidate sword (as private purchases). With some also possibly allocated for temporary use by those who were in an interim status prior to an award, and general parade/ceremonial use. FP

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Interesting topic, but can I ask an obvious question?
Officer training schools (like the German Army/SS schools) produce commissioned officers right? So they start as a candidate, then lower NCO, then higher ranked NCO, then officer (if they get that far)?

I read somewhere that NCO ranks were combat field promotions for enlisted men. So then an enlisted man could achieve rank of NCO through his actions in combat? I may be wrong here. If this field promotion idea is correct, then what would be the difference between a field promoted NCO and a schooled NCO? Would they carry the same edged weapons and have the same uniform?


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Spacey, It is a lot more involved because there are a of number of variables. But to touch on just one aspect, enlisted men went to NCO schools to earn that rank. With field promotions being temporary upgrades in rank, usually because the regular Officers or NCO’s became casualties (EM upgrade to temporary NCO). And after everything settled down the promotion might be made more permanent, but that was not necessarily a given. And in actual combat (TR era) nobody carried dress weapons. FP

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Ok, so enlisted men go to NCO schools to become an NCO. Then a NCO could go to (if allowed by ranked men above him) Officer Training School to become a regular Officer? NCO's being more likely to train and lead men into battle, and regular officers being more removed from the lower ranks while having more responsibility and higher pay?


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Not necessarily on the officers. Junior officers were generally as close to the lower ranks as NCO's. High casualty rates were suffered by US junior officers in WWII and Vietnam. Because of that, many second lieutenants were field promoted from being NCO's in WWII. Audie Murphy was one of those. In Vietnam, a large OCS program, ROTC and military academies made up for junior officer losses.


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